But the fact that the Despecialized films exist meant that my decision on viewing order was largely made for me. I would introduce my son to Star Wars the same way it was introduced to me – the original theatrical releases with no Lucas additions, in the order they were released.
It was an amazing experience. After decades of suffering through the debate of who shot first, it was almost refreshing to watch Han shoot Greedo not only first, but before the greedy green alien could pull off a shot at all.
I watched as my son – who once referred to Darth Vader as "Star-faced Flader" as a three year old – cheered as Luke launched his Proton torpedoes to set off the chain reaction that would blow up the first Death Star. I revelled in his discovery that Luke's father wasn't dead as Obi-Wan had told him, but really Darth Vader. And I watched as he came to grips with the fact that there was still good inside Vader, and that he sacrificed himself to save his son from the evil Emperor.
It was, as I'd hoped, the perfect Star Wars introduction.
Disney is riding an amazing wave of Star Wars euphoria following the almost unanimous adoration of Episode VII. But it should also be taking the availability of the Despecialized films and the love and passion that has gone into recreating them very seriously.
Now that the House of Mouse has the keys to the Star Wars universe, it should be putting a whole heap of energy into releasing the original films on Blu-ray as they were made, so parents like me can happily teach our children about the Star Wars universe just as we were taught.
Hate leads to suffering
Of course, now that my son has experienced the original trilogy in all its original glory, the question moves to "what's next?"
The prequel trilogy is erratic, bloated and tedious. The Clone Wars animated series has a lot of merit (aside from the decision to include Jar Jar Binks and not kill him off painfully), while Disney's current animated show, Star Wars Rebels, is truly fantastic.
The catch is that the animated shows probably need the context of the prequel trilogy to make sense.
Honestly, I will probably watch the prequel trilogy with him next. But I still hold out hope that one day Disney will release an edited version of the prequels that tells the story of Anakin and Obi-Wan, without the extraneous rubbish that turns each film into an exercise in tedium.
Just like the despecialized films, internet fans have released fan-cut versions of the prequels. Goodbye midichlorians. Goodbye creepy stalker Anakin. Goodbye Vader Nnnnoooooooooooo! scream. But sadly none of them has managed to deliver on the promise of watching Anakin's turn to the dark side.
That could be the source material, but there's still hope that there's enough footage on the floor at SkyWalker ranch for the prequels to be saved.
If not for me, then for my son.